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Veronica (2017): Review, part 2

For all the successful tricks that Veronica (2017)borrows from older movies, there are some missteps, too. And Paco Plaza shows enough horror know-how to make one wonder why he made these mistakes, in the first place. For example, one particular visual gag is repeated to the point of being exhausting: seeing the monster's shadow slither across the wall.


On one hand, this is a pretty cool nod to Count Orlok, from F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1922). In Veronica,they do the gag three times! By the third, the exhilarating effect is gone, and impatience starts to set in. This issue is compounded by the special effects, themselves. Instead of using actual shadow puppetry like Murnau did, Plaza digitally animates the monster's shadow. The more you stare, the faker it looks, and there's plenty of time to stare.

Another problem is how the movie starts. It opens with a languid, dream-like sequence, with a detective responding to a 911 call. Everything moves in slow-motion. People r…

Veronica (2017): Review, part 1

Something about Paco Plaza’s Veronica (2017) felt familiar. I didn’t recognise the director's name, but he seemed at home, in the genre. As it turns out, he actually directed [REC] (2007)—a movie exported to American theaters with John Erick Dowdle’s note-for-note remake, Quarantine (2008). With the possible exception of Gus Van Sant’s Psycho (1998), I generally don’t mind heavily derivative remakes. Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In (2008) was solid; so was its American counterpart, Matt Reeves’s Let Me In (2010).


In and of itself, Plaza’s Veronica is notably atmospheric. Much it revolves around an innocuous, inanimate object: a Ouija board. A sinister Ouija board is a ridiculous idea, but horror relishes the exploration of ridiculous avenues, especially superstitious ones. Even so, scary Ouija boards are a tough sell; as C.S. Lewis once said, no one is afraid of what a ghost may physically do to them. Personally I think he meant, "in a particular state of mind."